Published 2:13 PM EDT Sep 13, 2020
Much of Middle Tennessee woke up to loud thunder and heavy rainfall Sunday morning, with threats of flash flooding for many counties.
Parts of Davidson, Williamson, Wilson and Rutherford counties are under a flash flood warning until 3:30 p.m. NWS said those areas had seen 3 to 5 inches of rain by 10:30 a.m.
Parts of Maury, Giles and Marshall counties are under a flash flood warning until 3 p.m. Parts of Sumner, Trousdale, Lawrence and Lewis counties are under a flash flood warning until 1 p.m.
Mill Creek in Nolensville is under a flood warning until 7 p.m.
Scenes in Nolensville showed roads and yards underwater — forcing Mill Creek Church of Christ in the area to send people home and cancel service for those watching from home.
“It’s been flooding all morning,” said a church representative addressing the congregation in a video post on Facebook.
The levee behind the church has overflowed, he said, just a few hours before video on social media showed the building and a church van sitting in at least a foot of water.
“It is becoming dangerous to leave our cars here. And for those of us who are here, to possibly find a way home,” he said. “I’m sorry that we can’t come together as a church family.”
Flooding was also seen in LaVergne, where shipping containers were flipped over and sitting in water along Bridgestone Parkway, with reports of strong chemical smell in the area.
Earlier in the day, the waters stopped traffic on I-24 in Antioch between exits 57 and 60 near Bell Road. The Tennessee Department of Transportation closed eastbound I-24 at Haywood Lane. The I-24 westbound exit ramp to Bell Road is closed but the interstate is still open in the westbound direction. Officials recommend avoiding the area and preparing for delays. The area is commonly affected during heavy rains.
The Metro Office of Emergency Management performed a water rescue shortly before 8:30 a.m., but no injuries were reported. Spokesperson Joseph Pleasant said OEM was monitoring a number of areas and responding to water rescue calls. Williamson County reported water rescues as well.
Heavy showers and storms were expected throughout the day, with tropical moisture coming up into Middle Tennessee — running into a stalled cold front in the area.
The National Weather Service in Nashville said they received several reports of flooding and rising creeks, including Mill Creek, reaching flood stage.
“That remains an area of concern for this morning,” said Sam Herron, an NWS meteorologist, asking people to watch out for flooded roads.
Antioch, Nolensville, Smyrna and La Vergne were experiencing flash flooding around 10 a.m., with creeks out of their banks and roads covered with water.
Williamson County is reporting road closures online here.
From 1 to 3 inches of rain are expected, with 4 inches or more possible in some areas. Much of Middle Tennessee is under a flash flood watch until 7 p.m.
Sunday’s highs will be 82 degrees with lows in the 70s.
The heaviest rains are expected in the morning through lunchtime, before tapering out for Monday and Tuesday,
The workweek will begin muggy, with temperatures in the 80s with some humidity as moisture makes its way from Florida later this week.
Rain will return Wednesday and Thursday with Tropical Storm Sally forecast to strengthen to a hurricane early next week as it moves across the northeastern Gulf of Mexico from southeastern Louisiana to the Alabama coast, according to NWS.
Tropical storm conditions are possible by Sunday night over the Florida Panhandle, where a Tropical Storm Watch is in effect.
But then there’s good news, Herron said.
“A little taste of fall weather next weekend,” he said, with highs in just the 70s.
Nashville 3-day forecast
Sunday: 80% chance of rain. High: 84, Low: 69
Monday: Partly sunny skies, winds between 10 and 15 mph. High: 86, Low: 65
Tuesday: 40% chance of rain at 1 p.m. High: 85 , Low: 67
Yihyun Jeong covers politics in Nashville for USA TODAY NETWORK – TENNESSEE. Reach her at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter @yihyun_jeong.